Tag Archives: potato leek soup

Warm Up on a Cold Day with Potato Leek Soup

It seems that it is pretty frigid just about everywhere across the United States today, and I know that it is below zero here with the wind chill this morning with predictions that it will get even colder here tonight and tomorrow. I hate the cold weather a great deal as it is so I do my best to stay inside, stay warm and make the best of it. Days like today are ideal for breaking out the soup recipes and I plan to make a few different soups over the next week or so, but here is a recipe for a family favorite that I actually made around the holidays for a potato leek soup. We love potato leek soup in my house and it goes pretty quickly around here so I try to make a lot of it so we can have it available for lunches as well. While this is a soup you can serve hot or cold, I always prefer it warm. I tried this simple recipe from Alton Brown this time out and it is pretty similar to ones I have tried in the past, though it has a slight change with a larger ratio of leeks to potatoes.

Potato Leek Soup

1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, about 4 to 5 medium

3 tablespoons butter

Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning

14 ounces (about 3 or 4 small) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small

1 quart chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon snipped chives

After thoroughly cleaning the leeks, chop the leeks into small pieces. In a 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of the kosher salt and sweat the leeks for about 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, about 25 minutes, stirring the leeks occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable or chicken broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until the soup is smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk and white pepper. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately or chill and serve cold.

I love the creamy, silky texture of this soup and all of the great flavor you get from the potatoes and leeks, and this version has the leeks really shining through for some excellent flavor. You can make this vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken if you like and the combination of buttermilk and heavy cream is nice for this dish, though you could just use heavy cream if you prefer it that way. This soup makes an excellent first course for any meal or it can be a great meal on its own, which is how we often have it. Serve it with some homemade bread, rolls, or biscuits or even with sandwiches and you have a great dinner that is easy to make.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



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Sunday Scallops and Ratatouille

It’s a beautiful Sunday here In New York and even though I should be doing some work, I feel like blogging instead. We went and got a load of great fresh vegetables at the farmer’s market in Goshen on Friday and then went to Adams Farms and got some meat and seafood so we are all set for meals this week. For tonight, I decided to make a couple of new recipes for us. I picked up some bay scallops that were on sale this week. They are the smaller scallops, and less expensive than the sea scallops. I don’t normally buy them because they usually aren’t chemical free, but these were so I decided to go for them. I found a good-looking recipe from Ina Garten for this one and decided to use that with some slight modifications. I cut this recipe in half from what is shown since there are only 3 of us for dinner tonight.

Bay Scallop Gratin

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

6 large garlic cloves, minced

2 medium shallots, minced

2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, minced (I am actually using bacon instead, fried and minced)

4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons Pernod (I am using vermouth instead)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (homemade or panko work best for this recipe)

6 tablespoons dry white wine

2 pounds bay scallops

Lemon, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place 6 gratin dishes on a sheet pan (I personally don’t own any gratin dishes, but I do have small ramekins I have used for pot pies, creme brulee, etc and I think these would work just as well, just make sure what you have is broiler safe if you plan to use the broiler later in the recipe).

To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer, which I am using because I didn’t want to lug out the Kitchen Aid). With the mixer on low-speed, add the garlic, shallot, prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. When the mixer is still on low, add the olive oil slowly as though you were making mayonnaise, until combined. Fold the breadcrumbs in with a rubber spatula and set aside.

Place one tablespoon of the white wine in the bottom of each gratin dish. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and distribute them evenly among the dishes. Spoon the garlic butter mixture evenly over the top of the scallops. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the topping is golden and sizzling and the scallops are barely done. If you want a crustier top, place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes until browned to your liking. Finish the dish with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

A couple of notes on this recipe. Substituting bacon for the prosciutto is a convenience thing for me. I didn’t have any prosciutto and it can be kind of expensive, so I went with what I had. If you want the taste you get from the prosciutto, go for it. I also did not have any Pernod, which is a licorice-tasting liqueur. I couldn’t see buying a bottle just for 2 tablespoons, so I asked around on Twitter to some chefs on Food Network. Scott Conant replied to me to either leave it out completely or you can substitute in some vermouth instead. Amanda Freitag suggested using Sambuca instead, but warned it could be too sweet. I decided to go with the vermouth, but I think you could just as easily not use anything at all.

With all these fresh veggies I bought on Friday, I wanted to make something with them. I decided to go for a ratatouille. Now, ratatouille seems to be somewhat of an old-fashioned recipe and a lot of the time, it just doesn’t turn out well. The veggies get too soggy and it can be a bit of pain to saute a bunch of vegetables separately and then combine everything. I found a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that recommends roasting the ratatouille, which sounded ideal to me, so I gave it a try.

Roasted Ratatouille

1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

2 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 red onion, halved and sliced

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, with 1/2 cup juice reserved

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

5 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the eggplant, squash, onion, tomatoes with reserved juice, oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Spread the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Roast until the vegetables have softened and are browned in spots, about 1 hour, stirring thoroughly halfway through the cooking time. Sprinkle with the vinegar before serving.

Again, I cut this recipe in half so it would fit just the 3 of us and it all worked out well. Normally, roasting vegetables doesn’t always work out too well since each can roast at different speeds. The temperature of the oven and length of cooking time seemed just right to keep everything from getting soggy and I didn’t have to spend a lot of time at the stove watching the vegetables, which was nice. This makes a great vegetarian dinner dish on its own if you wanted to do that.

We also had some rice with meal to round things out. Michelle made a small batch of her Potato Leek Soup, which was great also.

Tomorrow I am planning to make the yellowfin tuna I bought. I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet, but I am sure it will be something simple. Check back and see what I come up with. Until then, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Cooking, Seafood, Soups & Stews


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A Couple of Extra Recipes For the Day

I am posting a couple of extra recipes tonight since I had a request for them. One is for a Potato-Leek Soup that I make, and the other is an early St. Patrick’s Day recipe for Irish Soda Bread. First, the Potato-Leek Soup:

Potato and Leek Soup

2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil

3 medium potatoes, any type, peeled and cut into small cubes

3 leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and sliced into thin rings

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water

1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream, sour cream or yogurt

Put the butter or oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, add the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the stock, adjust the heat so it gently bubbles, and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Allow the soup to cool slightly and then carefully puree the soup in a blender or food processor or with an immersion blender. Return the soup to the pot you cooked in. Stir in the cream, sour cream or yogurt and re-heat gently; do not let it boil if you use yogurt. Add more salt and pepper as needed and serve.

If you prefer not to deal with the leeks and the cleaning they need, you can substitute a large sliced onion instead. If you want the soup even thicker, you can always add in more potato to thicken it. If you want to make this a Vichyssoise, don’t re-heat the soup. Instead, chill the soup thoroughly before serving. You can also garnish the soup with some minced chives or some crumbled bacon (Sean’s preference, of course). This is a great one pot dinner and even better the next day for lunch or dinner.

Now, for the Irish Soda Bread. I am no bread expert, but I can make this one. A lot of what you can get in the stores I find to be too dry. I know people who can make this better than I do, but this is still a good recipe.

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for the  counter

1 cup cake flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup raisins

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray generously with vegetable oil spray.

Whisk the flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together in a large bowl. Work 2 tablespoons of the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork until the texture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk and raisins with a fork just until the dough begins to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead just until the dough becomes cohesive and bumpy, about 30 seconds (Do not knead until smooth).

Pat the dough into a 6-inch round about 2 inches thick. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Cut an X into the top of the loaf using a serrated knife. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove the loaf from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and brush it over the top of the bread. Let the loaf cool for 1 hour.

This bread is great not only to go along with your St. Patrick’s Day meal, but also as an accompaniment to soups, like the potato leek soup above, or any stew. It also makes great toast the next day.

I think that’s the end of my posting for today. If you have any questions or comments, or there is a recipe you would like to see or are looking for, just leave a comment, send me an email at, visit my Facebook page, or send me a note on Twitter @IguanaFlats. You can get the links to my Facebook or Twitter pages on the right. I hope you all have a great evening!


Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Breads, Cooking, Potatoes, Soups & Stews


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Nothing Better Than Cooking a Meal Ahead of Time

Today I was really glad we had cooked tonight’s meal ahead of time. It was a crazy day and I haven’t had a lot of free time to do things like blog or cook. Luckily, we had made tonight’s dinner for the meal plan on Sunday night and refrigerated it, so it was just a matter of re-heating and serving. Tonight is Potato Soup with a side salad and some crusty bread. Nothing fancy tonight, and it is our meat-less night of the week and this one really hits the spot. Potato soup is one of my favorites and it is so easy to make. The prep time is simple and then it just cooks on the stove. It also freezes really well if you want to save some for another day or use for lunches (This is a good kid’s school lunch if you can send them with a thermos. This soup is one of Sean’s favorites).

Potato-Leek Soup

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter

2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced and rinsed thoroughly

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups chicken broth (I use homemade, use that or store-bought. If you use store-bought, try to go low-sodium)

2-3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

1 3/4 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (we used large russets this time and only used 3 or 4. Red potatoes also work well with this dish)

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Stir in the leeks and the garlic. Cover and cook until the leeks are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the broth, carrots, potatoes, thyme, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot to thicken the soup (or use an immersion blender or pour some of the soup into a food processor and puree, then return it to the pot with the rest of the soup). Discard the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Another quick entrée in the books. I like one pot meals from the clean up standpoint as well. A couple of notes about this soup. We usually let it cook longer, maybe an extra 15 minutes or so, because we like thicker soups. If you like more liquid, don’t thicken the potatoes or add a little milk or cream instead of thickening the potatoes. Also, if you have never prepared leeks before, leeks tend to be very dirty and gritty and need lots of rinsing. My best bet for preparing them: trim and discard the root and the green leaves. Slice the trimmed leek in half lengthwise, then cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. Then rinse the cut leeks thoroughly in a bowl of water to remove dirt and sand. Make sure you really sweat the leeks down before you add the liquid in this recipe. We use 2 large leeks, and they sweat down to next to nothing by the time they are done, so you could use even more if you want to, or even add an onion in for some extra flavor.

Wow, it seems like I am cheating since that is basically the whole meal tonight. The salad we are making is just mixed greens that I purchased in the bag and rinsed, added some English cucumber and shaved carrots and some black olives. You could use any dressing you like, or not at all. last week, I posted a recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette. That’s a family favorite. We’re not using this vinaigrette today, but this Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette is tasty and simple to make.

Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette

 3/4 cup olive oil

 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 shallot, minced

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Shake all of the ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring it to room temperature and shake vigorously to re-combine before using.

Throw in a loaf of your favorite crusty bread (I love Ciabatta myself) and you are all set with a very easy meal. It’s hearty, it’s filling, it’s good for you and it’s great for a winter’s night, even if it is pretty warm for January here right now.

With my schedule being kind of hectic the last few days, I haven’t had a chance to get to the fish market yet, so we are moving the fish meal to Thursday and making one of my favorite meals tomorrow – Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, and Brussel Sprouts. I’ll go to the fish market Thursday and get something fresh to make. Any suggestions? I am pretty open-minded when it comes to fish and will try just about anything. I am trying not to break the bank though on the cost, so try to keep that in mind if you have any suggestions as far as the fish goes.

Other than that, I hope everyone has a great night and thanks for reading the blog. I am grateful for whatever visits I get here, and to have had over 200 in a short time to me is pretty good, so I thank you for following. If your planning on watching President Obama tonight, make yourself a nice cocktail and relax so you don’t get too agitated by what you may hear, one way or the other. Enjoy your evening and happy cooking!


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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Dinner, Salad, Soups & Stews, Vegetables


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